It is important to know the rules and take preventative measures to protect your business from risk.

Busting workplace myths – employee dismissal

One of the most common myths in workplaces across Australia is the idea that it is okay to fire a relatively new employee without notice.

Some bosses believe that it is possible to terminate an employment contract at any time within the first few months of employment.

But according to the Fair Work Ombudsman, this is simply not the case – and there may be more to dismissing an underperforming employee than previously thought.

The National Employment Standards requires that employers give their workers at least one week’s notice before letting them go if they have been with the organisation for 12 months or less.

Failing to comply with National Employment Standards could result in legal charges being brought against your business – which is why it is so important to know the rules and take preventative measures to protect your business from risk.

The minimum notice won’t apply if the individual is hired as a casual or engaged for a specific task, period, or season. It also excludes someone who is hired as part of a training agreement but not an apprentice, as well as a daily or weekly hire in the building and construction or meat industry.

Other circumstances include a full-time or part-time employee who has in some way broken their contract of employment in some serious manner, such as due to serious misconduct. For example, an employee who during the course of their time with your organisation engages in proven theft, fraud, or assault. In these cases, it is also possible to let go of the staff member without giving them a week’s notice.

Other Employee Protections

Sacking an employee without good reason after 6 months could also leave an employer open to an unfair dismissal claim, unless the business has less than 15 employees, in which case the period is 12 months.

Even those time limits don’t apply if the termination is due to one of a long list of reasons including discrimination, having a ‘workplace right’ such as the right to join or not join a union, and other specified reasons, many of which might surprise unsuspecting employers.

Depending on the severity of the claims made, these types of actions could damage your brand’s reputation and drain your company of much needed financial resources.

Free Download: Termination Letter Template

Need to let an employee go? Use our letter of termination template to ensure you are using the correct format. 

termination letter template